The Pittsburgh Press (September 8, 1944)
By Thomas L. Stokes
The first faint evidences of a cabal against the proposed international peace organization are beginning to appear in the Senate which must ratify a treaty providing the necessary machinery.
It has similarities, in its vague preliminary stages, to the gradually developed plot which kept the United States out of the League of Nations 25 years ago, both in its origin, which is isolationism or “nationalism” as it is now being called, and in its method, which is sabotage by sniping and piecemeal attack.
It will bear close watching and a constant check by the public if this country is not to lose the peace as it did 25 years ago.
Although representatives of this country, Great Britain and Russia are formulating the general outlines of an international organization here at Dumbarton Oaks, the real fight, as far as the United States is concerned, will come in the Senate, as it did before.
First sign of attack
The first sign was the attack delivered this week by Senator Harlan J. Bushfield (R-SD) against the reported American plan insofar as it would not require American representatives on the council to come back to Congress for approval every time for the use of force against an aggressor.
Though the Dumbarton Oaks Conference is only preliminary, with no power to approve anything finally, the point raised by the South Dakota Senator has been seized to begin an undermining attack, and obviously with political intent as well, as was plain from the Senator’s direct attack on President Roosevelt. The terms and conditions for the use of force are still only in the discussions stage and will not be settled for some time. They must await the general conference later and a treaty embodying them.
The Senator’s object seems to be to stir up the latent fires of isolationism and feed them for political purposes, for the campaign and later.
It has been learned since that he is by no means alone, that something approaching a general understanding among isolationists in the Senate – largely Republican but with some stray Democrats – is in the making. At least that is the word from Senate Democrats interested in the international organization.
Plot hard to combat
This sort of plot is hard to combat. It was done that way 25 years ago. The tactics are the same – to pick out one phase, now another, for attack, and thus to draw together as many dissident elements as possible in a common front of opposition.
Two such centers of opposition have already been suggested, that raised by Senator Bushfield, and the argument that creation of an international organization should await a general peace treaty covering terms of settlemen of all issues raised in the war, territorial arrangements included.
Republicans may find themselves in a mixed role in this campaign on the international issue.
Governor Dewey has taken a stand for an international organization and his representative, John Foster Dulles, conferred here with Secretary of State Cordell Hull recently, with the upshot that they agreed to remove the international organization from partisan political debate during the campaign, through leaving it open to general discussion.
Now, if Republican Senators meanwhile are going to indulge in such sharpshooting as that of Senator Bushfield, it gives the appearance of a species of doubletalk, especially since he is not alone among Republicans.